Puppy ordinance moves forward - Tucson News Now

Puppy ordinance moves forward

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

What was thought to be a routine half hour issue, turned into an hour and a half of emotional testimony and heartfelt concern.

The Tucson city council chambers was filled with supporters holding yellow and green signs asking the council to pass a "puppy" ordinance designed to put puppy mills out of business.

But a number of store owners pushed back saying they are legitimate, provide the community with a public service and provide their dogs with happy homes.

They also say they don't deal with puppy mills.

Michael Dugan, who owns the puppy place, told the city leaders he does not deal with puppy mills and his 15 years in business with a loyal customer base is proof he runs a legitimate store which cares for its animals.

He is also concerned that Tucson will put him out of business for no good reason.

He was asked to address the council by ward iv council member Shirley Scott.

Her concern is the ordinance as written would force legitimate business owners to close up shop.

Another speaker, Andy Porter, with CPI Pets, told the council his dogs meet all standards and they do not deal with puppy mills either.

He says his company prescreens breeders.

He says the proposed ordinance would put his small business out of business.

The testimony caused the council members pause and concern.

Ward iii council member Karin Uhlich wondered if the city could come up with an ordinance which puts puppy mills out of business and at the same time has the intended effect, reducing euthanasia.

She was concerned the council could pass a "feel good" ordinance which does not have the desired effect but gets a "good round of applause."

Ward I council member Regina Romero is concerned that the city of Tucson, which is leading the pack on the issue, will just force puppy mills into unincorporated Pima County and small jurisdictions like Sahuarita, Oro Valley or Marana.

Before she votes for a new ordinance, she wants to know whether pima county will follow suit.

Ward VI council member, Steve Kozachik, who brought the proposed ordinance to the table, pointed out 40 other communities have already done passed a puppy ordinance, including phoenix three months ago.

The ordinance says a dog or cat cannot be sold unless if was obtained from an animal shelter, humane society, non-profit shelter or, under certain circumstances, by a private owner.

He says the ordinance in Albuquerque has reduced euthanasia by 35%.

In the end, the council asked the city attorney Mike Rankin to come back with a new ordinance which addresses their concerns.

That will not likely be until April.

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